This website was created in memory and celebration of the lives of James Wayland (Jim) Smith and Mary Agnes Smith, beloved parents, grandparents, siblings and friends. Please enjoy the photos and remembrances and share a story, tribute or photo of your own.  

Those who are able are invited to gather for an in-person memorial service at 1:00 p.m. on May 21st at Wayzata Community Church.  Information about Covid precautions will be available closer to the time of the service.  Please check back here for details, including any need for advance registration. Those who are unable to join us in person are invited to participate in remembering and celebrating through this virtual platform.

                    "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."
Posted by Becca Hirdler on April 8, 2021
Thinking of my grandparents, Jim and Mary Agnes, on their 66th wedding anniversary.

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Posted by Becca Hirdler on April 8, 2021
Thinking of my grandparents, Jim and Mary Agnes, on their 66th wedding anniversary.
his Life
   Mary Agnes Smith & James Wayland (Jim) Smith
Mary Agnes and Jim Smith passed away peacefully on December 6, 2020 about 7 hours apart.  They died from Covid-19 which they contracted shortly before Thanksgiving. They were able to remain together at Haven Homes in Maple Plain, Minnesota where they received loving care during the last phase of their lives.  After over 65 years of marriage and a long and fulfilling life, it is a blessing they were able to make this final leg of their earthly journey together.

Mary Agnes was born on January 10, 1927 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to Clara Dean and Carlos Rabby, the middle child of three.  Her family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana when she was a child where she remained through college and until marrying Jim.  Jim was born on November 6, 1930 in Marion, Louisiana to Mary and J. Wayland Smith, the oldest child of four.  His parents moved with him as a toddler to Oak Grove, Louisiana and established the family’s dairy farm there.  Jim and Mary Agnes both attended Louisiana State University and met through the Sunday evening dinners “Miz Rabby” hosted for members of the Baptist Student Union.  They married in April 1955.  

After Jim completed his stint in the Army, they moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. Jim completed his PH.D. at North Carolina State University and their children, Carla and Paul, were both born there.  The family moved to Greenbelt, Maryland in 1961 where Dr. Smith worked as a Dairy Scientist for USDA until his first retirement in 1982.  Mary Agnes devoted her energies to home and family.  In 1983 Jim began a second federal government career working for USAID. They lived in New Delhi, India for two years while he traveled and consulted on agricultural projects in India and Pakistan.  They returned to the US in 1985 when he was offered the chairmanship of the Dairy Science Department, at LSU.  He retired from LSU in 1990 and they moved to Minnesota where Carla and Paul and their growing families were living in order to be near their granddaughters, Sarah, Caitlin and Rebecca Sawyer-Smith and Jessica Smith.  They renovated an old farmhouse and established their home on property adjoining Carla’s in Independence, Minnesota.  While Mary Agnes helped provide childcare for Carla's three young daughters, Jim resumed work with USAID and traveled back and forth to Poland and other countries providing agricultural consulting services and advice.

Jim and Mary Agnes were involved in church and community activities throughout their lives.  While in Greenbelt, Jim became involved in local community governance as a member and eventually the President of the board of the cooperative housing association, Greenbelt Homes Incorporated, that included most of the town.  He continued his involvement in local politics after his final retirement from USAID by running for and winning a seat on the Independence City Council and got involved with various city, regional and state commissions and organizations.  Jim and Mary Agnes were active members of Wayzata Community Church. He served on various boards and committees and as a head usher. She was involved in Thimble Bees, Red Hats and other women’s groups.  They both enjoyed Saturday Seekers and volunteering for the mammoth WCC Rummage Sale.  They were avid gardeners, cooks and do-it-yourselfers and greatly enjoyed their time doing home projects and hosting family and friends. They also enjoyed travel, including several cruises, driving trips south to see their family and friends and learning trips to England and Greece with groups from the church.

Jim and Mary Agnes were preceded in death by their parents and two siblings (Carlos Rabby Jr. and Sarah Rogers) and by their son Paul Smith who passed in 2016.   They are survived by their daughter Carla Smith, granddaughters Sarah Swanson, Caitlin Sawyer-Smith, Rebecca Hirdler (Brandon) and Jessica Kellogg (Chris), great granddaughter Iliana Kellogg, their siblings Roy (Carolyn) Smith, Patsy (Ophie) Breaux, Llewellyn “Bo” (Ruth) Rabby, brother-in-law Sam Rogers and nieces, nephews, cousins and other extended family members in Louisiana, Arkansas, Ohio and elsewhere.

A memorial service will be held at Wayzata Community Church at 1:00 p.m. on May 21, 2021 with the Reverend Lindy Purdy presiding.  A private family internment of ashes in the Wayzata Community Church Columbarium will take place following the service.
Obituary published in Star Tribune Dec 13, 2020

Star Tribune article published Dec. 28, 2020 - "Together in life and death - Minnesota couples battle covid."

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